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OTE Duo Bar sports nutrition review

19 Apr 2018

The newly redeveloped version is moister and tastier

Cyclist Rating: 
Easy to eat and easy to understand
Can get squidgy on long rides

The big question with any review of sports nutrition products is: do they work? And almost without fail the answer will be: who knows?

I have used numerous different brands and products over the years, and I still couldn’t specify which ones provide the best energy boost or the most help to speed up recovery. Nor could anyone else who hasn’t subjected themselves to months of restricted diet and training protocols under laboratory conditions.

As such, if you ask me whether the OTE Duo Bars are better than other energy bars, I have to reply that I simply don’t know.

I have taken them on rides, and they certainly helped to keep me going. But then so would a banana. I can’t feel the bars working, and I can’t measure my body’s response to them, so I can’t in honesty say whether these bars work better or worse than any other bars in terms of improving performance.

What I can say, however, is that the OTE Duo Bar is a great snack to have along on a ride, and I base that judgement on three criteria: taste, texture and convenience.

Buy the OTE Duo Bar from Sigma Sports here

Go with the goo

The original OTE Duo Bar was developed to mimic the rice cakes that were a favourite among pro riders. 

Matt Harrison, founder and MD of OTE, says, ‘They were based on Team Sky’s famous rice cakes that were produced from [Sky’s head of nutrition] Nigel Mitchell’s recipe. We loved that concept of a natural bar that was rice based, and we wanted to make something that everyday riders could use. 

‘It turned out to be very difficult to make, especially as we wanted it to be in two parts, because often that’s how riders eat a bar – in two parts.

‘We made that bar and we found that over time it started to dry out, so we took the opportunity to reformulate the bar. But perhaps the biggest change that we’ve done is make it gluten-free. We wanted to tap into the trend of people wanting a gluten-free bar, but not at the expense of taste and texture.’

It’s true that the previous Duo Bar was a bit on the dry side. It tended to get crumbly and tasted dusty when eaten, which was not what you wanted when riding hard with a dry mouth.

The new Duo Bar is a much more moist affair. It looks like a squashy Rice Krispies cake studded with chocolate chips, and it tastes sweet without being too sickly.

Its softness makes it easy to eat on the move, without the jaw-breaking chewiness of some energy bars, and it doesn’t sit heavily on the stomach.

Stuffed into a rear pocket, the Duo Bar gets quite squashed and misshapen, but it does stay together remarkably well, and won’t melt into a gooey mess on a hot day. 

The new softer formulation means that there are a few more sticky finger moments than previously, but nothing that can’t be easily solved by wiping your hands on a teammate’s jersey while pretending to offer assistance on a climb.

Tracking your energy

Each 65g Duo Bar contains 40g of carbohydrate (or actually 41.1g to be precise), which is all part of OTE’s strategy to simplify the sports nutrition process.

Harrison says, ‘A core philosophy of ours is that any rider needs between 60g and 80g of carbs per hour when they are out riding, and what we found was that it could be quite complicated to work out your carb needs from the products that were in the market.

‘So what we did was to create our products on a sort of “module” basis, so our gels are 20g of carbs, our energy drinks are 40g of carbs, and our bars are 40g of carbs – 20g for each of the segments. 

‘The idea is that it is very easy work out what to take. If you want 60g of carbs in an hour, you need to have a bar and a gel, or a drink and a gel, or a drink and half a Duo Bar. It helps consumers understand and demystify sports nutrition.’

Buy the OTE Duo Bar from Sigma Sports here

For those riders who like to measure and control their intake, the OTE system certainly helps to keep nutrition simple. For the rest of us, who just want something to eat on a ride that’s tastier than a gel and less messy than a banana, the Duo Bars are an attractive option.

Flavour-wise, you can have chocolate or vanilla. It’s a matter of personal taste, of course, but as far as this tester is concerned, the vanilla wins it hands down.

£2 each

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